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Re: PATCH: exit after 10 EOF's

On Mon, 13 Sep 2004, Peter Stephenson wrote:

> This ought to be part of the test suite, but with zle it needs zpty and 
> I don't understand the tests with zpty.

I meant to reply to this before and got distracted by later developments
in the thread.

The idea behind the zpty-based tests isn't much different from the way the 
"nslookup" wrapper function is implemented.  You start a shell as pristine 
as possible on the pty; initialize it by feeding it some commands to set 
the environment, and to change the prompts to something distinctive so 
that it can be recognized later; and then start alternately scanning for
your special prompt and sending more commands, checking to see that the 
stuff that gets output between prompts is what you expected.

The completion tests use the same idea but in a considerably more complex 
manner, e.g., arranging to have every item in a completion listing emit 
markers before and after each actual list entry, so that all the entries
can be parsed out and verified.

On Thu, 16 Sep 2004, Peter Stephenson wrote:
> [...] the previous broken ignore_eof behaviour (sometimes you get EOF 
> after 10 ^D's and a message, sometimes [in the editor] you get the same 
> message but it doesn't exit and doesn't call the bound widget, some 
> [non-completion] widgets suppress the message and work normally, some 
> [completion] widgets don't suppress the message and don't run...  I may 
> have got some of that wrong, and I don't particularly care.)

I'm going to try to get it right anyway, because unless we know what it 
does we don't know what to "fix."  (I confess to slight bafflement over 
why this suddenly needs to be changed, when it has been the way it is for 
at least five and possibly as many as ten years without causing any flood 
of complaints, but ...)  So here I go.  This is divided into two parts, 
search forward for the second part if you'd prefer to avoid a historical 


There are two base cases, which ultimately resolve to: (1) it is possible 
to differentiate the typing of the TTY driver EOF character from the true 
closing of the TTY file descriptor, and (2) it's not possible.  It turns 
out that (1) occurs only when ZLE is active and (2) occurs only when ZLE 
is not active.

Now, a detour into history.  I wasn't actually at University of California
Berkeley during the three years or so when the following would have taken
place, but I've seen the csh source code and was puttering around USENET 
at the time, encountering writings from the personalities involved, so I 
think this is a fair approximation of reality.

When csh introduced completion, there was no such thing as a line editor.  
The TTY driver was all there was.  So the writers of csh hijacked some of 
the TTY driver behaviors and abused them to implement completion.  One of 
the behaviors they hijacked is that it's possible to partly fill the 
driver input buffer, then type the EOF character to force that buffer to 
be flushed (written to the shell).  The shell would see some characters of 
input followed by an EOF (but without a newline), interpret that as a 
request for a completion listing, output one, and then go back to reading 
from the TTY.  If the TTY descriptor was not closed -- i.e., if the driver 
was only "pretending" it had been closed, because of the EOF character -- 
then the new read would block, awaiting more input from the user.  Bunnies
were gamboling.

However, some characters of input followed by an EOF is also what the 
shell would see in the event that the TTY descriptor really was closed.  
So the csh authors had a dilemma -- they had to come up with a heuristic 
to "guess" when an EOF really was an EOF, despite lack of direct evidence 
one way or another.  So the first heuristic they tried was "an EOF on an 
empty buffer is a real EOF."  All well and good, except that users got 
used to typing the EOF character for completion listings and would 
sometimes accidentally do so when the buffer was empty, and got really 
upset when this logged them off (this was before windowing systems, too). 
So the csh authors introduced "set ignoreeof", but then they needed a new 
heuristic to stop the shell from going into an infinite loop when the TTY 
line dropped.  So they picked "10 EOFs in a row is a real EOF."  Nobody 
who set ignoreeof ever really hammered the EOF key 10 times, as a way to 
exit the shell or otherwise, so the bunnies gamboled some more.

Unfortunately, some sysadmins put "set ignoreeof" in /etc/cshrc, and a few 
power users who _never_ made the mistake of typing EOF in an empty buffer, 
except when they wanted to log off, got confused when their shell would 
not exit.  Nobody can bully a shell author like an annoyed power user 
(recall those bunnies with pitchforks), so a warning message was added to 
explain that the shell really had seen the EOF, it just wasn't paying any 
attention to it.  The power users would mutter under their breath about 
sysadmins catering to newbie lusers and fix their own ~/.cshrc to unset 
ignoreeof, and then go quietly back to typing the EOF character when they 
wanted to exit from the shell.  The bunnies didn't exactly gambol, but
the didn't storm the castle.

Now we return to the present day.  Keep in mind, though, that an EOF, 
whether from a "pretending" TTY driver or from a real closed descriptor, 
is a read() that returns zero bytes.  Nothing.  Nada.  It's not a 
keystroke, so in spite of the perception of the user that he pressed some 
keys, the shell can't use what it read to look up a keybinding.

There is, in addition to the aforementioned two base cases, an assumption 
that the _default_ behavior of the shell upon receipt of a TTY driver EOF 
character should be the same whether or not ZLE is active.  Nearly all the 
early users of zsh were converting from csh, so both the default behavior 
and the heuristic for telling when an EOF really is an EOF were copied 
from csh.  Except that zsh can, when ZLE is active, do something that csh 
never could: really know when it has an EOF _character_ as opposed to a 
closed descriptor.  Exactly what zsh can do with this knowledge is limited
in two ways:

a. In any situation where csh would have read zero bytes, zsh has to 
behave (by _default_ only; not necessarily after it's been reconfigured) 
as if it read zero bytes.  That means no widgets are called on the EOF 
character unless csh would have treated it as a completion request.

b. In any situation where csh would have printed a warning, zsh has to
print a warning.  This applies only when ignoreeof is set, so for the
following discussion I'll subdivide base cases 1 and 2 into 1, 1i, 2, and
2i, where the "i" designates ignoreeof being set.

However, because no one ever intended for 10 consecutive EOF _characters_ 
to be treated as a real EOF -- rather, they intended 10 consecutive zero- 
byte reads to be treated as _not_ an EOF character, and nobody ever typed 
10 EOF characters on purpose -- zsh does _not_ have to play dumb and exit
on 10 EOF characters.

Another historical detour:  At about the same time this decision was put 
into effect, somebody introduced a terminal emulator bug (probably having 
to do with switching from BSD descriptor handling to STREAMS) such that on 
at least one popular operating system, zsh could not tell whether a zero- 
byte read meant the terminal window had been closed.  So the old heuristic 
was revived, although at a different place in the code, and with a larger 
count (for no good reason that I recall), to prevent an infinite loop when 
such a terminal emulator was, in fact, closed.  However, this has nothing
to do with how zsh behaves on normal input, so we can set it aside.

So we now have cases 1, 1i, 2, and 2i, and we further subdivide those into 
two more categories: (A) default behavior, and (B) behavior after zsh has 
been reconfigured.  However, zsh can't be reconfigured in any way that is 
interesting for terminal input when ZLE is not active, so cases 1A and 1B 
collapse to the same, as do 1Ai and 1Bi.  Leaving us with cases:

(1) Zsh must silently exit on a zero-byte read.

(1i) Zsh must print a warning on a zero-byte read, and must exit after 10 
     zero-byte reads.

(2A) ZLE must cause zsh to silently exit on reading the EOF character in 
     an empty buffer or upon a true EOF.

(2Ai) ZLE must print a warning on reading the EOF character in an empty 
      buffer.  It may not call any widget instead or as well.  It must 
      cause zsh to silently exit on a true EOF.

(2B) ZLE need not cause zsh to exit on reading the EOF character, and may 
     call a widget.  It must cause zsh to silently exit on a true EOF.

(2Bi) ZLE need not print a warning on the EOF character, and may call a 
      widget.  It must cause zsh to silently exit on a true EOF.

This brings us at last to the crucial bits:  How does zsh know when it has 
been reconfigured, and what reconfigurations change the behavior?


The choice was made to assume that:

- zsh has been reconfigured if the keystroke that corresponds to the EOF 
character is bound to a widget that is not an internal widget;

- the behavior should only change if in fact the aforementioned not- 
internal widget is also not a completion widget, because replacing "old" 
completion with "new" completion should be otherwise transparent.

Hence the following should, presently, be true statements:

* Zsh exits on 10 EOF characters only when ZLE is not active, and only 
  because 10 EOF characters are indistinguishable from 10 zero-byte reads,
  which is what really causes it to exit.

* When the binding for the key corresponding to the EOF character is a
  binding to _any_ internal widget, pressing the EOF character in an empty
  buffer _either_ exits _or_ prints a warning, and does _not_ call that

* When the binding for the key corresponding to the EOF character is a
  binding to _any_ completion widget, pressing the EOF character in an 
  empty buffer _either_ exits _or_ prints a warning, and does _not_ call 
  the widget.  (This happens to overlap with the foregoing statement for 
  internal completion widgets.)

* When the binding for the key corresponding to the EOF character is any
  _other_ widget, the EOF character _either_ exits _or_ calls the widget
  (which implies not printing the warning).  "Other" happens at this time
  to be limited to widgets created with "zle -N".

* In each "either" choice above, the setting of the ignoreeof option is
  used to determine whether to exit (option unset) or to do whatever it
  is that happens when the shell does not exit (option set).

One could argue, then, that a better name for the option would have been 
"no_exit_on_tty_eof_character" -- but historical precedent was "ignoreeof" 
and, prior to this thread, nobody ever expressed serious concern over the 
naming inaccuracy.

In any case, if you can find a situation that violates any of those five
statements, I'd agree that said situation is a bug.

Returning to your excerpt far above, you appear to object to the fact that 
the conditions of "not internal" and "not completion" are simultaneously 
required in order for a widget binding to override the default behavior of 
setopt ignoreeof.  Is that an accurate summation?

You also feel that there shouldn't be a distinction on the behavior of 10 
EOF characters, but my assertion is that 10 EOF characters was never 
intended to have any semantics of its own and shouldn't be given any now.
It's nothing but an unfortunate side-effect, and one that ZLE correctly
avoided before, which is why I think 20363 should be backed out.

On Thu, 16 Sep 2004, Peter Stephenson wrote:
> I'm prepared to consider another option, such as zle_ignore_eof (meaning
> that ignore_eof really did what csh used to, and zle_ignore_eof would be
> my current proposal, or something such), or anything other than what was
> there just before...

Given all that I just explained, do you still feel that we have arrived in
a bad place?  Every decision along the way was made for a clear reason, at
the time.  Do you still think that bifurcating yet _again_, with another
option, would truly improve matters?

My own preference would be that we _do_ have exactly what was there just 
before, except perhaps to include in the documentation some (hopefully 
small) portion of what I have exposited in this message, in order that we
don't ever have to go through this again.

Whew.  Bunnies look around uncertainly, wondering if it's OK to gambol.

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